Mar. 25, 1911 Allendale Wabash County Illinois, USA
Dec. 7, 1941 Hawaii, USA
US Naval Veteran. First American Caualty in the United Sates involvement in World War II. Daniel Griffin enlisted in the United States Navy on October 6, 1930. After basic training he went on to serve aboard the battleships USS California, USS Tennessee, and the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga. Daniel graduated as a Naval Avaition Pilot in 1938 and was sent to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to fly patrol missions aboard PBY (flying boat) aircraft. In March of 1941 he transferred to Kaneohe Bay with Patrol Squadron 12. On the morning of December 7, 1941, Daniel was standing a routine watch when he saw the Japanese planes approaching the base, he realized that they were not from the United States military. His PBY was at the ready; sitting in the bay with two of the four crew members already on board. Daniel called out to the crew members on board the plane to start the engines as he began to swim out to the PBY. Daniel settled into the pilot's seat and began to taxi the plane for takeoff. Daniel's PBY was hit by Japanese gunfire just as he became airborne. It caught fire and sank in Kaneohe Bay. Daniel was badly burned but managed to escape the plane and attempt to swim back to shore. The Japanese planes continued strafing the Kaneohe Bay waters with machine gunfire. Daniel sustained a bullet wound to the head, killing him instantly. It is believed that Daniel was the first serviceman to die at Kaneohe Bay that day making him the first US casualty of WWII. In 1943, Daniel's widow Lucille had the honor of christening a destroyer escort named for him, the USS Daniel T. Griffin (DE-54).